Lake Vostok life to be studied

Jan 15, 2007

U.S. researchers say they will analyze microorganisms from a vast Antarctic lake to determine how life adapts to extremely harsh environments.

University of California-Riverside Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences Brian Lanoil is leading the project that will investigate life found in Lake Vostok, the world's seventh largest lake -- a Great Lakes-size body of fresh water trapped under a 2 1/2-mile-thick polar ice sheet.

The goal is to reconstruct the genomes of the microorganisms that live in the lake to determine how they have been able to withstand bitter cold, total darkness, low nutrients and high oxygen levels during evolutionary and geologically significant lengths of time.

The lake is estimated to have been buried under ice for at least 15 million years and is thought to have been isolated from the external environment during the last 1.5 million years.

Lanoil will work with Craig Cary at the University of Delaware and Philip Hugenholtz at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They will compare their results with a similar study conducted by Sergei Bulat at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Icy research drills down on summer algae blooms

Apr 10, 2014

We've walked a mile out on the frozen skin of Missisquoi Bay. Clouds, snow and ice blend into an abstract collage of white shapes. To the west, a thin grey line, the New York shore, cuts the world in two. ...

Hunt for water intensifies—on two planets

Mar 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Scientists are using a promising new theory to track down hidden water both on Earth – where fresh water is becoming dangerously scarce in some regions – and in the quest for life on the red planet, Mars.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.